Trail Blazers down Clippers to clinch series
(The Sports Xchange) - Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum combined for 46 points to lead the Portland Trail Blazers past the Los Angeles Clippers 106-103 Friday night at the Moda Center.
Lillard scored 26 points and McCollum added 20 as the Trail Blazers closed out the Clippers in six games in their first-round playoff series.
Mason Plumlee contributed nine points -- including the deciding three free throws in the final 14.7 seconds -- and grabbed 14 rebounds for Portland, which opens Western Conference semifinals play Sunday at Golden State.
Jamal Crawford came off the bench for a career playoff-high 32 points for the Clippers, but missed on a driving layup that could have tied the game in the closing seconds. Austin Rivers collected 22 points, eight assists and six rebounds while DeAndre Jordan had 15 points and 20 boards for the losers.
Portland took a 50-48 lead into the half despite 22 points by Crawford. Lillard had 14 points and McCollum 11 for the Blazers.
Luc Mbah a Moute's three-point play and Redick's 3-point shot gave the Clippers a 58-53 advantage early in the third quarter. Al-Farouq Aminu, Lillard and Mo Harkless followed with consecutive 3s and the Blazers used an 11-2 run to go ahead 64-60. The Clippers took an 82-80 advantage into the final period.
Portland led only 88-87 with seven minutes remaining, but the Blazers increased the margin to 98-91 on a McCollum with 4:49 to play. Jordan's tip-in closed it to 98-93, and Redick knocked in a jumper to close the gap to 98-95 with 2:50 left.
McCollum stroked a 3-pointer to increase Portland's lead to 101-95 with 2:16 remaining, but Redick scored on a runner to close it to 101-97 with 1:58 to play.
Lillard made a pair at the line to push the difference to 103-97 with 1:37 left. Crawford converted a drive, Redick scored on a reverse layup and Crawford made two foul shots, and suddenly it was 103-103 with 32.1 seconds left. Continued...